Don’t you just hate those types who feel compelled to rag on every enjoyable film adaptation by muttering that one immortal line: “The Book was better”?
Yeah, me too…
When it comes to Stephen King’s haunting, 1,138-page opus however, I’m afraid to tell you that yes, I am one of those types, and yes, the book was indeed better.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with the famous 1990 miniseries staring Tim Curry, the one I actually saw edited together as a full length feature film.
In all honesty, I found it highly enjoyable.
I’m also sure that, to some degree, I’ll enjoy the movie adaptation set to hit cinema screens this September staring Bill Skarsgård as Pennywise The Clown.
Skarsgård was awesome in the criminally-underrated Hemlock Grove on Netflix, and I’m sure he’s a perfect fit as the manifestation of pure evil.
No, it’s not that the movie was (or will be) bad, just that the book was better –much better- not only than its own adaptations, but than most other stories I’ve ever had the pleasure to read.
In fact, allow me to wax a little hyperbolic here, will you:
Stephen King’s IT is as damn near perfect as any story, horror or otherwise, that has ever existed.
I truly, genuinely believe that too. I believe it because I feel it, and I feel it in a way that I’m not sure can be explained by logic or reason, but only by pure emotion.
When I first told you about how Michael Chabon’s Wonder Boys was my favourite book of all time, I mentioned how much I related to the character, and how much the story reminded me of my own life as a writer.
To me, that seems like an obvious, logical reason to love a book, but with IT, there is none of that.
I do not feel as though I have much in common with Ben, Beverley, Richie, Bill and the rest of The Losers Club, but I do feel as though I know them, more than that even, I feel as though I love them.
In some respects, I feel as though once upon a time I fell in love with them, completely, hopelessly, utterly in love with them.
You know when you meet that special someone, and despite having nothing in common on the surface, there’s just that certain intangible, almost magical quality that hits you right in the heart and sends butterflies buzzing around your belly?
That’s how I felt the first time I read this story.
Even now, just reflecting on it, those same butterflies flutter by, as though I’m here reminiscing not about an epic horror novel, but about some old flame with whom I once enjoyed a perfect summer, and who still captivates some part of my soul to this day.
I sit here, and I find myself pining for a cast of characters who, for the entire time I spent reading this novel (and much afterwards), felt like the absolute best friends I’d ever had.
I find myself longing to join my friends on that long, terrifying adventure, cheering them on as they do battle with IT, sharing in their triumphs, tragedies, and challenges.
I find myself looking over at my bookshelf, picking up that fat wad of bound-together paper where my friends, The Losers Club, all live, and I find myself opening it up, ready to fall in love all over again.
IT by Stephen King is the second entry in my list of my Top 12 All Time Favourite Books. The first entry was Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Entry number three will be published next month.